Tie-down roper Carmine Nastri, 56, won the RAM First Frontier Circuit Finals Rodeo average title for the 13th time Jan. 14, in a career that has spanned nearly 35 years.
Making the victory all-the-more improbable was the fact that Nastri hadn’t roped a calf since the middle of August, thanks to a hernia and pinched nerve in his pelvis.
“On top of that, I sold my horse and bought a new horse two weeks ago,” said Nastri, a Ballston Spa, N.Y., native. “I didn’t even tie one down on that new horse until I got here to the Circuit Finals. So it feels pretty special to be able to come here and compete against these young guys and win.”
Nastri placed in all three rounds of the RFFCFR, taking the average title with a time of 33.1 seconds on three head.
His 13 average titles in tie-down roping is the most of any circuit. Nastri also extended his record for most circuit average titles in all events to 26: 13 tie-down roping, six all-around and seven team roping.
“I had four of the 12 guys at my winter house down in Georgia staying and practicing with me for a week,” Nastri said. “The youngest boy in that group came up to me tonight after I won it and said that he hopes he can rope as good at 30 as I am at 56. It’s nice to compete with these guys.
“I told them that, once we got to the Circuit Finals, I was going to turn my game face on, and that the old lion was going to roar and they’d be shooting for second. To make that actually happen was a big deal.”
It was Nastri’s first RFFCFR average title since 2009–—he also has 14 year-end titles in tie-down roping. The win also broke the First Frontier Circuit event record for longest span between first and last FFCFR titles (33 years), breaking the record of 27 years set by Shawn Quinn (1988 to 2015).
All-Around: John Leinaweaver, $13,587 in bull riding and steer wrestling
Bareback Riding: J.R. Mills, 211 points on three head
Steer Wrestling: John Leinaweaver, 23.4 seconds on three head
Team Roping: Chuck Smith and Kevin Brown, 19.9 seconds on three head
Saddle Bronc riding: Clovis Crane, 214 points on three head
Barrel Racing: Wendy Chesnut, 45.29 seconds on three runs
Bull Riding: John Leinaweaver, 238 points on three head